MVNO (virtual operator)

August 14, 2023
An MVNO is a wireless service provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers. Instead, MVNOs lease wireless capacity from traditional mobile network operators (MNOs) and resell it to their customers under their own brand.
In brief, an MVNO buys wireless capacity from an MNO and sells mobile services to consumers.

MVNO business model

The MVNO business model is based on the concept of virtual network operation. MVNOs enter into a business agreement with an MNO to obtain mass access to network services at wholesale tariffs and then independently set retail prices, i.e. the MVNO uses the MNO’s network infrastructure to provide mobile services to its customers.

Types of MVNOs

There are several types of MVNOs, each characterized by the degree of involvement in controlling network infrastructure, services and customer relationships. These include MVNO resellers, MVNO operators and full MVNOs.

MVNO resellers have the least control, mainly involved in branding and marketing. MVNO operators manage more aspects, including billing and customer service. Full-fledged MVNOs have the most control, managing all aspects except network infrastructure.

Impact of MVNOs on the telecommunications industry

MVNOs have a significant impact on the telecommunications industry. They increase competition, resulting in lower prices and better customer service. They also serve niche markets that MNOs may overlook, such as certain demographic groups or geographic areas.

MVNOs also drive innovation in the industry by introducing unique services and business models. They are often more nimble and customer-centric than traditional MNOs, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.

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